September 26, 2014

Money talks, and bullshit walks

Well at least it does around Mtown.
Now, it has been a while since I have shared a HeeHaw story with you, dear readers. I think it's past time that you heard the latest installment. Strap yourselves in and take a sip of the haterade I am sharing.
You may or may not know......... Lil C turned the big 1-8 this summer. I still can't believe it. Why am I bringing this up? Well, let me tell ya. Ever since my divorce was final, I have received a small amount in child support from HeeHaw. Which totally chaps HeeHaw's ass, since we have joint custody of our two cherubs.
Since Lil C turned 18 this year, there is no need to collect child support for him anymore. Or so you would think. Turns out when we filed the divorce papers 5+ years ago, there was NOT a specific amount listed PER CHILD. So, since the state could not determine how much was being collected in support for Lil C, and how much was for Doodle, they could NOT change the amount I was receiving.
Now, before you go and get your panties all wadded up, here this: HeeHaw could fill out MODIFICATION paperwork if he wanted to. That could change the amount he is paying. The likelihood that his support amount would go down? About as likely as me winning the lottery........... since I don't play. I took such a downward deviation in support (in lieu of something else) when we finalized our divorce, should HeeHaw submit his income, it was almost a given that the state would make him pay more. Like more than DOUBLE what he is paying now.
Now, thanks to ME and my BIG mouth, HeeHaw opted out of the modification. Damnit.
With Lil C deciding to live with me full time upon his 18th birthday, he and I went through some ground rules, and what would be expected of him. We also laid out a rental agreement. He was to pitch in a TINY bit for his "rent" and his portion of the cell phone bill. Now that I was not going to loose the child support I thought I would, I lowered Lil C's amount. I thought about it, and as a rite of passage, the boy needs to know the value of paying rent, and that mom's house is not a free ride.
But all of that was not good enough for HeeHaw. During the football game a couple of weeks ago, he decided to ask Lil C if he knew that I was still receiving support for him. Even though its not for Lil C anymore, HeeHaw thought it was important for the boy child to know this. Why? Because it made ME look bad. To my son. Who then turned around to confront ME about it.
I asked Lil C why he thought I needed to justify the amount of support I received? Or for that matter, how much money I made. Or how much my car insurance or 401k was. Really? It has NOTHING to do with Lil C, and I would be willing to bet that HeeHaw and LL dont share ALL their financial info with Lil C.
So I thought to myself: Why couldn't Lil C know the truth? He is 18 now. He can make his own decisions. I shared with Lil C all the struggles I had been through while still receiving child support. The days (when we were first divorced) where I didn't eat, because I had only enough food to feed the kids. Why my kids had to share a bedroom. Why we didnt have cable. How I did without to make sure they had birthday presents, or Christmas presents (as any single parent does). How I would not have eaten on any day I didnt have the kids, had CHB or Moxie not called to invite me over. How I had my power shut off. How I would only turn the heat on in the kids room, because I couldnt afford to heat the whole house.
All the while? HeeHaw had a brand new car. Or the latest gadget. Or whatever it was that was shiny and new. And that? Made my blood BOIL.

But hey, I made it work. As best as I could. And eventually, things got better. I paid off my car (one less bill for myself.) I learned how to budget, coupon, and scrimp, save and stretch things out to make them last.
At times I was bitter that I relied on that money to survive. But I got over that real fast. Especially when HeeHaw failed to live up to his end of the bargain, with paying for the things he had agreed to as part of our divorce.
Having this conversation with Lil C brought back some of that bitterness. And I was angry with myself for letting him walk all over me, only because I didnt have the resources, or the will, to fight him at the time.
I hemmed and hawed over sharing this with you, my dear readers. And I had decided not too, until a couple of days ago.

Lil C came to me and said "Hey mom, I heard you got a raise. How come you didnt tell me, and I had to hear it from dad?"
Fuck. My. Life. I had let it slip to Doodle the other day that I got a teeny tiny raise. Apparently she let THAT slip to HeeHaw. Who now thinks my finances are HIS business?  He decided to strike up a conversation with Lil C....... I dont know exactly what the conversation entailed, but when I heard HeeHaw had said that the little raise would "make things easier for me"? I saw RED.
How dare he? Easier for me? Yep. Thats it. You keep thinking that you god damn jackass. While you sit in MY house. With your TWO new cars. How dare you judge me. How dare you call me immoral for not giving back the "extra" child support I am receiving every month. How dare you make me look like a money hungry bitch to my children. I hope it comes around to bite you in the ass.
But, hey. I am not bitter. END. RANT.

London Day 7

Day 7:
Our last "free" day to visit all the places on our "bucket lists" we had not been to yet.
Very high on almost everyone's list? Abbey Road. How did we get there? Via double decker bus!

 After a short bus ride, we arrived. In the middle of a functioning, and at times, busy intersection.

See that little sign in the background? Abbey Road Studios baby!

Monkey needed his photo taken as well. Of course he also witnessed me writing my name on the bricks outside the studio. All the girls wrote something.

We jockeyed for position with ALL the OTHER tourists for a turn to cross the road and take the iconic photo. We got highly annoyed with the French tourists who kept retaking their photo, and stopping traffic in the process.

What amazed me the most? If you live in London, and KNOW this intersection is where tourists come to get their photo taken, why the HELL would you want to be ANYWHERE near it? We got a lot of frustrated drivers going by and laying on their horns......
We hopped back on the double decker bus. Next stop?
Westminster Abbey
You know. Where Charles and Diana got married. Where William and Kate got married.

You feel a little small standing in front of it.

We did not go in. The line was long, and we had many stops to make that day.

We visited the gift shop. I dont feel like I missed too much by not going inside. I mean, I have seen the inside on tv. What could I possibly be missing?

We walked through the Queen's gardens on our way to Buckingham Palace.
The Queen was home that day, so not only was the flag up and flying high, it also meant no tours.

So we gawked and peeked through the gates like all the other hordes of tourists there.

We wound our way around the back of the palace, and hopped on the Underground. Next stop?
I wish we would have more than 20 minutes in the store. As a group of 9 it was really hard to stick together AND look at all the awesome-ness that is this store.
Next time? I will plan an entire day there!
We walked around the block to the world's largest toy store. Hamley's.
We let the girls wander through the store so they all got a chance to see what they wanted to see.
I made a beeline for the Lego's. They did not have ANY mini-fig's (damnit) however I settled for a photo op with a life size Queen made of Lego's.
Per a suggestion from a friend, we headed off to the London equivalent of a Walmart and Forever 21 fusion.
We had about 30 minutes in this store and not ONE of the girls left without some kind of awesome treasure. We could have spent HOURS in there.......

We hopped the Underground again to visit Camden Town. Lots of street vendors for food, an entire street of souvenir shopping.
We were so exhausted, and it was late by the time we got there, that we just grabbed a bite to eat, hit a shop or two, and hopped back on the Underground.
The next day we had to get up SUPER early, because we are Paris bound!

September 16, 2014

Metal Mouth Squared

The wee people have been in desperate need of braces for SOME time now.
At the end of August, the process got started. They went and had some teeth pulled. Both of them.
Here is the before:
And the after:
Doodle always swells up when put under anesthesia. What a difference it makes though to have those fangs removed for BOTH of them.
A couple weeks later, they went in to have their HARDWARE installed.
Don't they look thrilled?

That night was ROUGH. Each of them in pain. Eating all kinds of soft foods.
I remember the hell of braces myself. I know the pain, the chewed up cheeks, the broken wires stabbing you, and not being able to eat some of your favorite foods is TOTALLY worth it.
Trying to convince them of this? Like beating your head against a brick wall. I did remind them that it could be worse. They could have head gear........

At least my two metal mouth, brace faced cuties are rockin the bands well. Can't wait to see what they look like when they come off!

September 15, 2014

August 2014 in review

I figured I would give you guys a break from all the London posts and share some of the other exciting things that have been happening in my life.
August was a VERY busy month for me! Since I was gone for a while in July it feels like I am trying to squeeze in 2 months of summer in to once month.
Aug 1:
Hanging out at Tha Hut on Tha Upswing of Tha Hill, otherwise known as Jgurl's back patio.
Aug 3:
Couch potato/Movie day for Doodle and I

Aug 8:
 A HUGE moment for me. NiceGuy has one of these:
Image courtesy of HERE

And I got on the back of it. And rode around. Which may seem like a small thing to most of you, but its a BIG fucking deal yo. I am nervous passenger in a car, how did I ever think I was going to be able to conquer THIS?

Surprise, surprise it went better than even I expected. NiceGuy had us circling the parking lot for a while, then just around the block, all to acclimate me to the bike. We have been on some short rides (an hour or less) and except for roundabouts, I enjoy being on the back of the bike! It feels so different, and I get to SEE so much more.

Aug 9:
VIP tickets to the Bruno Mars concert at The Gorge. Uhm, it was fucking AWESOME! Great road trip with some SUPER great girls!
Aug 10:
Woke up from the concert with THE PLAGUE. So this is where my toothbrush sat all week, soaking in Listerine. Oh, and I gave all my super awesome road trip friends (who went to the concert with me?) the plague as well. Which they thanked me for. Uhm, yeah.

Aug 13:
Sweet treat for NiceGuy for his bday (along with some other goodies)
Aug 17:
Awesome new bauble from NiceGuy for MY bday

Aug 17:
Headed out for 5 days of Spicy Camping 2014
With the exception of HOW's little friend, we have been camping with these girls for almost 10 years..........

Our dish system (which rocks!)

All the hood kids........ so good to see them all hanging out together again and just having fun!

Aug 23:
NiceGuy and I hiked the Ice Caves and then rewarded ourselves with a glass of wine.

Had to try it with a name like this......
Aug 24:
Berry picking with Michelle, Moxie and Jgurl
Which resulted in jam making. 14 small jars and 3 large ones.
Aug 30:
Went for another hike with NiceGuy. This time to Lake 22. Which is not that far, about 2.7 miles to the top, but all uphill and some serious rock path switchbacks. My calves hurt for 3 days

Aug 31:
Woke up to my front porch that had been "forked". I have the best friends EVAH!
Another adventure for NiceGuy and I: this time to the State Fair. Where I decided to get on the Ferris Wheel. Did I mention I am AFRAID of heights? Lets just say that once we got to the top..... I didnt look down. Covered my eyes.
Also, had my first ever Purple Cow! Those are freaking GOOD!

It was a GREAT month, filled with ALL kinds of new adventures.